Evan’s Week 16 Spotlight
The Guy I Like: Ben Tate, Houston Texans
Ben Tate was supposed to be the primary ball-carrier for the 2010 Houston Texans team. Things did not go as planned however as Tate suffered a season-ending injury after just 2 preseason carries last season. After the the injury, the Houston Texans turned over the majority of their backfield duties to Arian Foster. Foster went on to have a tremendous 2010 season surpassing 1600 yards rushing while also accumulating over 70 catches. At the beginning of the 2011 season, it was Foster who was sidelined by injury while Tate was the feature back for the Texans who rushed for over 300 yards during the first 3 weeks of the season. Foster’s injury was not season-ending however, which has allowed Houston to work to incorporate both backs into their offense.
Over the past few weeks, Foster has been the player posting the impressive fantasy stats while Tate has faded, but Week 16 should be an opportunity for both players to excel. The defensively-inept Indianapolis Colts face Houston in Week 16 in a game that the Texans need to win for playoff-seeding purposes. Expect the Texans to run the ball close to 40 times in the game while both Foster and Tate find the endzone. For owners with Tate on their roster, expecting 100 total yards in addition to the aforementioned TD is completely feasible.
The Guy I Do Not Like: Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams
Over his career, Steven Jackson has found ways to put up solid numbers despite playing for some awful St. Louis Rams teams. Jackson’s ability to both run the ball and catch the ball out of the backfield ahev made him a solid option for fantasy owners nearly every week of his career. In 2011, Steven Jackson has struggled against the better defenses in the NFL.
Against Baltimore in Week 3 he rushed for merely 23 yards (it should be noted he was still fighting back from an injury at that point of the season), against San Francisco in Week 13 he rushed for only 19 yards, and he averaged under 53 yards in two meetings with Seattle this season. In Week 16, Jackson and the Rams face the number one-ranked defense in football in the Pittsburgh Steelers. Expect Jackson to struggle to get to 50 yards rushing this week making him a subpar option for any fantasy owner.
Frank’s Week 16 Spotlight
The Guy I Like: Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Julio Jones was certainly a bit of disappointment when the season started due to nagging hamstring injuries and his overall lack of production. But believe it or not the time Jones spent on the sidelines earlier this season is working in his favor. While most rookies who have been playing since week 1 are starting to slow down a bit, Julio Jones is just getting warmed up.
He’s found the end zone 3 times in the past 2 games and also racked 189 yards receiving over that same span. The Falcon’s match up against the Saints on Monday night will be high scoring and you can pencil Jones in for close to a 100 yards receiving and at least one trip to the end zone.
The Guy I Don’t Like: Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens
Torrey Smith has been of the surprise rookies of the 2011 season. He actually has more receiving yards than Julio Jones (770 vs 755) and more touchdowns ( 7 vs 5) but fantasy is all about match ups. When the Ravens met the Browns in Week 14 Smith posted just 1 catch for 32 yards.
Smith could certainly have a better game this time around but the Ravens will likely do most of the their damage on the ground again (Ray Rice went over 200 yards in the first meeting). With that in mind I think Smith will have less than 50 yards receiving and no trips to the end zone.